Cyber safety online and in your video game

Video game players often create characters which represent the player in the game. Through this character the player interacts with other people playing the same game at the same time. This makes video games a social pastime, but at the same time it can also expose the player to anti-social behaviour and other cyber safety issues.

Staying safe within a video game requires fairly similar strategies to staying safe online. One must however be mindful of the fact that this social play doesn’t mean that we know the other players. Others may pretend to be someone completely different than they really are. As such video games can be a potential place for grooming children or cyber bullying. This page is all about cyber safety while playing video games.


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Cyberbullying and cyber safety

Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that occurs using technology and is an incredibly powerful form of bullying that is public, fast, and hard to remove. Cyberbullying doesn’t stop in the school yard with most young people having access to internet at home in the form of phones, tablets or computers, meaning that the bullies can follow their victims into their homes, leaving no escape. There are many ways that someone can be cyberbullied including:

  • Having people sharing embarrassing photos of them online
  • Receiving harassing or abusive calls, texts or emails from people they may or may not know
  • People posting upsetting or embarrassing things about them online
  • Having people say  humiliating stuff about them on Facebook and Twitter either publicly or through private messages
  • People setting up fake profiles pretending to be others, or posting messages or status updates from their accounts
  • Having their profile information changed by people stealing their passwords to get into their accounts
  • People trying to stop a person from communicating with others

How it affects victims

Cyberbullying has many negative effects on the victim’s mental wellbeing so it’s important to stay safe. It is well represented in the media some of the outcomes of cyberbullying on young people. The effects of cyberbullying take their toll over time and can lead to serious mental health problems.  Some of the common feelings felt by victims are:

  • Feeling guilty like it is their fault – feeling frightened and unsafe
  • Feeling losing hope and feeling trapped; like they can’t escape the situation
  • Feeling alone, like there is no one to help them, or no-one will understand
  • Feeling like you don’t fit in
  • Feeling depressed and rejected by their friends and other groups of people
  • Being stressed out; asking why this is happening to them

Staying Safe online

Here are a few simple cyber safety tips that you can use to protect yourself online.

  • Don’t share private information like passwords, name and address, phone numbers with people or websites you don’t know
  • Don’t use your real name online, use a nickname or make up a name
  • Don’t respond to messages when you are upset. You may regret what you have said, it can be used against you or encourage bullies because they know how to make you angry
  • Log out and stop messaging if you feel you are being harassed
  • Block, delete and report anyone who is harassing you online and on your mobile to stay safe
  • Know how to report harassment on social media and online video games
  • Set up privacy options on social networking sites like Facebook to be safe and protect yourself
  • Be careful about what pictures you are posting online, these can be copied by anyone and spread without your knowledge. Don’t put pictures online you don’t feel comfortable with everyone seeing
  • Don’t  open emails from an unknown person, delete them, these could be scams and contain viruses that effect your computer, phone or tablet

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